Not only does winter bring some less than ideal weather conditions, but the dreary weather is usually coupled with lower fitness motivation. By the time you add decreased sunlight to the mix, it’s almost as if you’re destined for a season of hibernation, regardless of how hard you try. Attempting to stay active in the winter feels like a never-ending battle.
While it’s easy to use these negative circumstances as reasons to settle in on the couch for the long haul – staying fit this winter doesn’t have to feel like so much of a struggle.
But that doesn’t mean staying active in the winter is impossible.
Finding a way to stay fit throughout the winter takes a bit of creativity. Your winter fitness routine may look a bit different than it does throughout the rest of the year, but it can still be just as effective.
This season is filled with plenty of opportunity. Winter brings a fresh set of experiences, new workouts and time to focus on areas that have been neglected the rest of the year.
The holiday season and new year may bring about a burst of fitness motivation, but it is often short lived. Once goals have been made and life returns to normal, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the seemingly never-ending winter.
However, the best way to beat the winter blues is to avoid them all together. It’s hard to feel lethargic when your sweating it out each day, staying fit and feeling proud. Staying active this winter will help your body and mind stay fresh and rejuvenated, even when the scene outside the window looks far from it.
Take advantage of this winter season and all it has to offer. The greatest growth often occurs when we are forced to try something new, venture outside of our comfort zone and mix things up.
Stay fit this winter and truly experience the joy that each new day has to offer.
8 Ways to Stay Active and Fit this Winter
Plan indoor, at home workouts.
When the sun sets earlier and temperatures drop to new lows, it feels harder and harder to find any motivation to venture outside. Staying cozy in your house sounds much more appealing the stepping outside and freezing on the way to the gym.
Accepting and understanding this low motivation helps you plan ahead to avoid the battle of skipping a workout. Use these cold, dark days to try out new workouts on YouTube, finally use your home gym, or incorporate some bodyweight strength exercises and HIIT workouts.
Fitting in a workout doesn’t have to mean leaving the house. You can burn just as many calories in your living room while watching TV as you do after an icy commute to the gym.
Incorporate shorter, more effective workouts.
The beginning of winter brings with it many holiday gatherings, festive parties and endless obligations. Even as the new year begins, time seems to slip away when the sun sets before you’ve eaten dinner.
In order to work around this, try and plan shorter, more intense workouts. Rather than longer, relaxed workouts, find exercises that really challenge your body in a shorter amount of time.
Experiment with some HIIT workouts, strength exercises, bodyweight workouts or intervals runs. When time is limited, you’ll have more of a reason to make the most of it, procrastinate less, and avoid those frequent breaks. Make the most out of the time that you do have.
Take advantage of winter sports.
When we imagine summer, our minds are usually filled with outdoor thoughts and beautiful time spend in nature. Summertime feels as if it’s filled with endless opportunities to get outside.
While there are a great deal of activities available in the summer, don’t write off winter just yet. Some of the best, most adventurous sports happen during the winter!
Downhill skiing is one of my favorite sports and such a great workout. Even sledding can provide a great calorie burn by walking up the hill. Ice skating, cross country skiing, snowboarding, running and hiking all can be done in the winter as well. Use this season to get outside your comfort zone and try new things.
Complete your workouts as soon as you wake up or get home.
Don’t put it off! With so many excuses to procrastinate or skip a workout all together, being proactive is key to fitness success this winter.
Plan to workout as soon as you wake up, get home from work, or when lunch starts. The longer you wait to start, the less likely it is to happen. Have your clothes and equipment ready so you have less excuses to skip it.
Create a routine and stick to it.
Having a plan is key to success. If you’re hoping to just wing it, you’ll more than likely discover that life quickly gets in your way.
Plan a time to workout each day and stick with it. Maybe you workout each morning before work, or right when you get home. Try and keep the time as consistent as possible so your body and mind know what to expect. Finding consistency as often as possible will set your mind and body up for success.
Similarly, take the time to schedule your workouts at the beginning of the week. Check your schedule and proactively look ahead to make sure you haven’t planned a long cardio session after a work meeting or date night.
Use this time to focus on strength training.
While it is definitely possible to complete long runs or lengthy cardio sessions, completing them certainly becomes more challenging during the winter.
Get creative this season, and use the winter months to focus on strengthening muscles that are neglected throughout the rest of the year. Incorporate a variety of cross training workouts and strength exercises to set yourself up for injury free training in the spring.
Take advantage of where you are now and create a plan that will leave you strong and prepared for spring. Staying fit this winter could mean building your base mileage in preparation for a spring race or increasing your strength for those intense workouts to come in spring.
Focus on your priorities.
Successfully staying active in the winter usually involves having a clear set of priorities to keep you focused and on track.
Is your priority to workout every single day? To workout for a certain amount of time? To maintain weight? Gain muscle? Improve strength?
Decide what your main priorities are so that when things get busy you know what needs to stay and what you can miss.
Cut yourself some slack – create a game plan for missed workouts.
Above all, remind yourself that winter can be a challenging time, regardless of how prepared or motivated you feel.
Fitness shouldn’t interfere with what is truly important to you, but should enhance those times. If you find yourself feeling more run-down or stressed trying to stay fit this winter – it’s time to rethink your priorities.
Understand that things will come up for which you have not planned. You may get sick, have a family party, or find yourself snowed in. Don’t beat yourself up over a few missed workouts. Things happen, and understanding that staying fit is a long-term journey, not a one day project, is key to navigating those busy times.
It’s time to take advantage of this winter weather and experience everything the season has to offer. There are some really magical things that happen in the winter!
Staying active in the winter doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Fitness will fit into your lifestyle even as the seasons change.